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Zone 22 Hardcover – 1 May 2008


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718153561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718153564
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.6 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 393,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

`Takes suffering to a new place entirely ... in the tradition of Midnight Express and Papillon ... you spend your time feeling thankful that, just for once, it's not all about you'
-- Guardian

From the Inside Flap

When Tig Hague kissed goodbye to his girlfriend Lucy, he was already thinking of his return. The couple were going house-hunting, looking for their first home together. Tig was only going to be gone a few days on a routine business trip - the annual highlight of an otherwise unglamorous job working on the Russian desk of a London bank.

But just hours later something went wrong at Moscow airport. Very wrong.

Misunderstanding a request from customs for a backhander to speed his progress into the country, Tig was pulled to one side to have his bag searched. A deliberate inconvenience, he thought.

But Tig's world was about to implode with dizzying, terrifying speed. A tiny lump of hashish, nothing more than detritus from a recent stag weekend, was discovered in the pocket of an old pair of jeans. Too small to warrant anything more than a slapped wrist back home, he hadn't even known it was there.

Tig was in Moscow's notorious Piet Centrale jail by nightfall - and that was just a stepping stone on his way to prison camp Zone 22 in the bleak, remote wastes of Mordovia.

He wouldn't be returning home for years ...
Zone 22 is the shocking story of a young Englishman struggle to survive the brutal, corrupt, almost medieval conditions of a prison camp in Putin's Russia - a gripping contemporary story in the tradition of Papillon and Midnight Express.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Michna on 10 May 2008
Format: Hardcover
Having been to Russia I found this book all the more interesting. I was shocked to read about the conditions in the prison system in Russia but also astounded by the ability of people such as the author to survive such an environment.

The author gives us an insight into corruption and bribery which begs many questions. One in particular, how those without resources and assets survive such a regime.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Flashman on 27 Aug 2008
Format: Hardcover
Tig Hague's account of his arrest at Sheremetyevo, remand in Moscow, trial and time spent in a Mordovian prison camp is a vivid description of two shockingly different worlds clashing - that of a naive Western European on a business trip and the harshness and brutality of life on the wrong side of the Russian justice system.

Hague was desperately unlucky to be there - he had overlooked the fact that there was a small amount of hashish in his jeans. Then he failed to understand that the corrupt official at the airport wanted a bribe, leading to a search of his clothes, leading to a conviction for drug smuggling and two years of misery and terror.

Zone 22 makes for very compelling reading. The stories are so horrifying that it is impossible to put the book down. He also finishes chapters with a nasty incident or an example of psychological torture by the guards, prompting you to eagerly continue reading to see how he deals with it and what ghastly event will finish the next chapter. Hague also uses very earthy language which makes for a strong effect - quite appropriate to describe the degredation he experienced.

I've spent a long time in Russia, and I was able to empathise with him dealing with Russian bureaucracy, which is designed to be as frustrating as possible. I was also pleased to see him manipulate one of the governors at the end of the book - a character called Zanpolit - indirectly threatening him by claiming the British Embassy were on his case. This really shows up the "authorities" for what they are - corrupt bullyboys.

Hague does mention something very important, which the incredulous reader should bear in mind.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dazeobi on 15 Aug 2008
Format: Hardcover
I bet he wishes that he had now.
The extract taken from 'The Guardian's' review, couldn't sum this book up more.
I found the most ironic part of the book (apart from the vietnamese moaning like a dog, while sleeping, after eating one), was that it should have only been a small chapter in his life. What should have been a small bribe (in the form of a few cigarettes) to the first individual that asked for a bribe, in Russia. Turned out to be half a years production of the 'Marlboro' factory, and a select few pages from the 'Argos' catalogue, being handed to the employees of the Russian prision system, in order to try and get somewhere, but in fact not getting really anywhere. As he found out himself. 100 Marlboro's for 1/4" of a window to be opened. It's just wrong!!!!
Seriously, this book is a brilliant buy, and I'm another one of the 'I read it in days, and couldn't put it down crew'.
On the plus side; I now know that if I ever travel to Russia (and the former parts of it), the most important item I'll carry, is definately 30 cigarettes!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Deadman on 18 May 2008
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book straight away after seeing Tig on This Morning, being a fan of autobiographies I knew I had to get it. I'm a bit of a slow reader but I stayed up until 3:30am last night to finish it as I knew I couldn't go another night thinking about what happens next.
The way the book is written is like Tig is telling you his story in person, getting angry with certain people he encountered and you really feel his emotions. This book has left me with a kind of dark cloud as I reflect on my feelings as I empathised with Tig.
Brilliant book, would highly recommend it to anyone, especially if you like autobiographies this one is particularly good.
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By SAP VINE VOICE on 16 Nov 2009
Format: Hardcover
How did he cope? Thrown into a gulag (there's no better word for it) knowing you have to perform forced labour in extreme conditions for at least two years before your parole application is even considered and with the threat of six months being added to your sentence at any moment at a whim by guards who like to torment the prisoners to relieve their boredom. I know that I couldn't have survived in those conditions. I would have had a mental breakdown on the first day! I don't condone drug use, but many experts opine that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol and to be caught with such a small amount (less than one `hit') just rubs salt into the wounds of the injustice. The Russian penal system is brutal and corrupt, the guards venal and inhumane. But Hague was lucky in many respects. He was lucky to be born an Englishman, to have the British embassy fighting his corner and to have the funds for a ready supply of bribes. He also met some nice fellow prisoners who helped him out. This book is well written and reading it made me feel grateful for every little luxury that a Western lifestyle affords. But as a proud Russia exerts itself more forcefully on the international stage lately, its confidence buttressed with vast oil and gas reserves, how much influence will little Britain be able to bear on behalf of its nationals today? Only slight gripe is that Hague finishes the story the moment he is released. I would have liked to have heard how he adjusted back to normal life. What was his first meal? What was the first thing he did? Just remember, if a Russian customs official leans over, rubs his thumb and forefingers together and leers at you, it means he wants a bribe...
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